Relationships with peers are important in adolescence. Friends and other peers provide social support and a sense of belonging. This is fertile ground for young people to strengthen their interpersonal skills and to mature. Young people may also develop supportive connections with the parents or caregivers of their friends.
Peers contribute to resilience when:
- The youth feels accepted as a member of their peer group.
- The youth has positive relationships with peers.
- There is open communication, with personal sharing and honesty, with at least one peer.
- The youth has the ability to make and maintain friends.
- The youth is able manage emotions when spending time with peers.
- The peer group has an identity, with social norms and codes of conduct that allow members to be themselves, without fear of the loss of acceptance in the group.
Strategies to strengthen this factor:
- Use classroom management techniques that recognize the power and impact of the peer group.
- Avoid negatively labelling groups of youth.
- Engage youth in discussions about peer groups and moral dilemmas.
Support youth to build living skills that will benefit their peer factor.